Volkswagen releases first pictures of mobile EV charging station
Volkswagen has offered the public a first glimpse of its future mobile quick charging station.
The mobile charging station works according to the principle of a power bank – which is familiar to many people with smartphones – but for electric vehicles instead.
The charging point can be set up flexibly and independent of the power supply wherever it is needed: for example, in public parking lots in the city, on company premises, or as a temporary charging point at large-scale events.
The charging capacity of up to 360 kWh enables up to 15 e-vehicles, including members of Volkswagen’s new ID. family,1 to be charged in stand-alone operation. Thanks to quick charging technology, the charging process2 only takes 17 minutes on average. If the energy content of the integrated battery set is less than 20%, the depleted charging station is simply exchanged for a charged one. If, however, it is permanently attached to the power supply with up to 30 kW via alternating current, the battery pack perpetually recharges itself. In case the charging process is based on renewable Power bank for electric cars – the mobile quick charging station by Volkswagen Group Components power supply, the charging station furthermore allows the temporary storage of sustainably generated power, such as solar or wind energy – and therefore CO2-neutral mobility.
The first mobile quick charging stations will be set up as early as the first half of 2019 in Volkswagen’s hometown of Wolfsburg, Germany as part of a pilot project, and will support the expansion of a charging infrastructure in the urban area. As of 2020, the charging station will also be implemented in other cities and communities.
Thomas Schmall, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group Components, said: “The mobile charging stations are a decisive step toward an efficient network of charging points. They can be set up anywhere as required – with or without connection to the power supply. This flexibility enables a completely new approach for the rapid expansion of the charging infrastructure. Cities can, for example, find out the most suitable places for a permanent charging point before making major investments in developing the network. In addition, it will be possible to set up a large number of charging stations temporarily – exactly when and where they are needed.”
The mobile charging stations can be set up at defined points, for example, spread out across a city. The flexible locations can be easily found via the Internet or apps. Each charging station enables DC quick charging with up to 100 kW. In addition to electric cars, e-bikes can also be charged. Up to four vehicles can be charged simultaneously: two with DC and two with AC connections. The total battery storage capacity of up to 360 kWh is sufficient for up to 15 e- vehicles. There is also the possibility of connecting to the power supply directly, allowing the station to be charged with up to 30 kW via alternating current by means of a permanent standard grid connection. This enables charging points for electric vehicles to be set up quickly and simply, without any structural changes or major financial outlay. The battery pack in the charging station can be recharged around the clock thanks to the direct power connection. This time-independent recharging, and therefore buffering of power, also considerably reduces the strain on the power supply at peak periods.
Mark Möller, Head of Technical Development at Volkswagen Group Components said: “Our mobile charging stations offer a further crucial advantage. It is only when an electric car is charged with sustainably generated power that it can claim CO2-neutral mobility. Our charging station is the first to offer the possibility of temporarily storing sustainably generated power.” For example, the charging station can be charged specifically with solar or wind energy, which is then transmitted to the electric vehicles during charging. Technically, the mobile charging column is based on the battery pack of the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB). On the one hand, this offers the advantage of quick scalability and, on the other hand, the charging station allows batteries from electric vehicles to have a second life. This is because a battery loses charging capacity over time. If a vehicle battery has a defined, reduced residual capacity, it is exchanged. If this battery subsequently passes a thorough analysis, it can be reused in a mobile charging station.
An efficient network of charging points is regarded as one of the basic infrastructural prerequisites for convincing customers to buy electric vehicles such as the Volkswagen brand’s future I.D. family.1 Accomplishing this is one of the major challenges Volkswagen Group Components and others must tackle to ensure the breakthrough of e-mobility. As of January 1, 2019, the Components division is an independent business unit within the Volkswagen Group. The mobile charging station is an in-house development with the goal of developing a closed life cycle for the battery. The start of production is planned for 2020.
Taking the lid off digital transformation
Amish Sabharwal is Executive Vice President for AVEVA’s Industrial Engineering Business Unit which is responsible for delivering simulation, engineering, design, project execution, operator training and project management software to the Global Industrial Market. With 25 years' experience globally within the Energy, Chemicals and Power industries, he is focused on delivering Digital Transformation outcomes for Owner Operators, EPC and Suppliers by leveraging technology to create value added opportunities to business processes. Amish is a professional engineer who holds a Masters and Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary. Here he reflects on the impact the pandemic has had on the industry and why it must be at the cutting edge of digital transformation.
Oil and gas companies faced formidable challenges to their efficiency, sustainability and profitability in 2020. As a result of the pandemic, prices collapsed severely and the urgency to tackle these issues intensified. The economic discomfort is being felt throughout the oil and gas value chain.
Upstream companies seek to maximise production from onshore and offshore wells safely and economically. In the midstream, the primary concern of hydrocarbon pipeline operators is to ensure safe, reliable and compliant operations - all while managing energy costs and minimising time and installed costs. Across the downstream, refining and petrochemical producers strive to achieve superior performance through better management of their energy usage and costs.
Considering these priorities, the lack of digital maturity across oil and gas is perhaps surprising. According to multinational professional services firm PwC, “One of the clearest and most viable responses to these systemic challenges is to accelerate digitisation strategies to help improve resilience and remain attractive to investors.” But, “of more than 200 oil and gas companies surveyed, only 7% identified themselves as digital champions while more than 70% of respondents considered themselves to be in the early stages of digital maturity”.
Optimisation and innovation
In today’s economic environment, capital budgets and overheads are constantly being cut. Oil and gas producers are faced with rising manufacturing costs, global competition and soaring energy costs. To meet these challenges, companies must optimise manufacturing operations and make performance improvements to positively impact their bottom lines.
Digital transformation offers new toolsets that enable oil and gas producers to increase their competitiveness. These digital toolsets help improve yields of valuable products while reducing energy consumption and increasing throughput. Using digital technology, manufacturers can create a complete digital twin of their processes and assets to respond quickly and easily to unexpected events, reduce shutdown time, work and train operators remotely and evaluate what-if scenarios in batch processing and manufacturing.
Through digital transformation, operators can combine real-time process data with current economic conditions, giving operators the ability to make informed decisions at an expedited rate. Information sharing increases while stakeholders also improve their ability to visualise results and key performance indicator data across processes and overall plant production.
Technology offers the potential to impact process yield, energy use and throughput optimisation. Here are some considerations:
Own and maintain your own engineering data
Engineering data tells you what equipment is installed on each plant, what size it is, how it is connected and where it is located through 3D visualisation. It is generated in capital projects, from newbuild plants to brownfield revamps, and forms the backbone of the digital twin.
Accurate data, kept in one place, ensures the reliability of a digital twin’s output and the efficiency of operations throughout the asset’s lifecycle. Global oil and gas producers are moving fast to invest in their own cloud-based data platforms for current and future capital projects, operations and maintenance as part of their digital transformation projects.
Evaluate process design in the cloud to reduce costs
By leveraging the almost infinite processing power and storage available through cloud-based architecture, companies can accelerate process design while reducing capital investment costs for process modelling and training.
Oil and gas producers can spin up cloud-based servers and computing resources as needed. This also accelerates the flow of information throughout process design. A cloud-based architecture for process design increases information accessibility, enhances availability and significantly reduces total cost of ownership.
Encourage online collaboration
Process innovations becomes seamless through collaboration. Separating the content from the product allows the content, such as simulation models, to be managed easily with file history logs in a central repository. Efficiency is significantly increased using cloud-based architecture as refineries can adapt to changing needs.
Computing power can also be scaled up or down with varying numbers of virtual machines to facilitate simulation templates for engineering test or training scenarios. Secure user access control allows administrators to add, delete or edit users and privileges as needed. IT overheads are simplified to a pure on-demand cloud-based architecture where machines are accessed via a secure URL, and new versions of process designs are available as soon as released.
Accelerate operational excellence through a digital engineering platform
Consider supporting the entire engineering lifecycle from representation of the actual piping and instrumentation diagram, mapping each equipment object to a detailed engineering database and 3D model; to building/testing the dynamic stimulation early in the process design; optimising the process and control design, comparing capital versus operating costs; and the continuous improvement of operations as the engineering model becomes a plant’s digital twin.
Unify your supply chain model planning and operations
A complete 360-degree view of the digital value chain means all aspects of the enterprise are visualised, analysed and optimised. Inputs to the enterprise, such as feedstock and raw materials, are analysed in real-time against planning, operations, scheduling and distribution. Full plant models are managed simultaneously within a supply and distribution network.
Combining data and analysis
There are three key technological trends that will continue to accelerate adoption and help businesses reinvent themselves. First, cloud computing allows companies to manage large volumes of data generated in operations and improves data quality, data availability and single-source transparency across complex value chains.
Second, connectivity and the Internet of Things, in which machines carry sensors that support remote performance monitoring and efficient equipment integration, will support energy use optimisation and costs across company operations. Third, AI and ML tools help analyse data and identify operational patterns and shortcomings that can be used to improve efficiency, for example, in predictive maintenance.
Digital transformation offers a fresh lens to improve workforce training, sustainability, productivity, safety and regulatory compliance - while adapting to unforeseen events. Through digital transformation, oil and gas producers can more confidently explore opportunities, reduce operational risk and shrink the gap between plans and results.